Food + Wine

Old Tom Mule

Have we discussed how much I love gin?  If you know me, but at all, you know all about my love for gin.  Gin is my jam. I could change the name to Everyday Gin if I didn’t think it sounded too ‘drunk on a corner’.  It’s my favorite liquor to use in cocktails, (bourbon is the fav for straight sippin’) and there’s really not a gin based cocktail that I’ve had, or made, that I haven’t enjoyed the hell out of.  It’s pretty much our go-to in-house cocktail base.  So… when my husband and I were recently in New York and had the chance to meet the distiller, Chris Murillo, and owner of a local Gin Distillery? …um…we were pretty damn excited.

Queens Courage is only about 2 years old.  It’s made by the Astoria Distilling Company in Queens, NY, and they make what’s called Old Tom Gin… which is a style that’s fairly difficult to describe unless I go into the other two (very different), styles of gin.

Gin schoolin’ time.

So first, you’ve got Dutch Genever… And I actually had the luxury of tasting some incredible genever while in Amsterdam a few months back.  It’s commonly described as ‘malty’.  It’s incredibly smooth, and a bit sweet, so when mixed in cocktails, the flavor can get a bit lost, as there isn’t anything loud enough to bust through after you add a bunch of other flavors to the party.  It was originally produced by distilling malt wine, and then adding herbs, such as juniper berries, to help with the flavor. There are two different varieties of Dutch Genever- oude and jonge– but both are rooted in that malty flavor. 

Then, at the other end of the spectrum, you have London Dry… which is what many of you probably are used to.  It has all the sharp edges that the genever lacks. So all of those gin and tonics you’ve been drinking this summer, the ones that taste gin-y still, are most likely using London Dry – Bombay (Sapphire), Beefeater, Tanqueray… all the usual suspects. It’s higher in alcohol and tends to have more of a citrus note in flavor.

So, knowing those two styles being so different from one another makes it hard to imagine they’re even in the same family, right?… until you add Old Tom into the mix.  Old Tom sits right in the middle of those two guys and just makes everything make sense.  And in like a lot of threesies… the one in the middle gets booted out and eventually forgotten about over time.  But thanks to the recent resurgence in craft cocktails, we’re about to see more of good-Old-Tom.

And I’m pretty ok with that.

The style of Old Tom is lighter and less malty than Dutch Genever, and definitely sweeter and rounder than London Dry, with a less botanical flavor than what most of us are used to.  So it’s definitely something that you can sip straight, but it can also work in cocktails as well.

Win- Win!

Queens Courage, unlike most gins these days, does not make their gin from a vodka base.  They begin with premium malts, like the good ole boys used to, and add local rooftop honey from New York.  It’s really delicious and interesting, with a solid front-middle-finish palate party.  It’s rich and round, with just the right amount of bite and sweetness.

Y’all- This gin in the reason why we checked baggage on the flight home.

So the night we got back home- all sleepy and bleary from our trip, we made ourselves up a cocktail with this baby. And here she is.

It’s sooooooo good.  Dangerously good.  Perfect for summer.


If you like a Moscow Mule (vodka . ginger beer . lime), then you’ll love this.


recipe for 2- repeat as often as you’d like 😉

(For 2 cocktails, you will need a total of- 3 oz gin, 1 (6-7 oz) bottle ginger beer (NOT gingerale), 1 grapefruit and 1 lime)

Fill 2 copper mugs with crushed ice (shown above and traditional in the Moscow Mule, but tall glasses would work just fine)

Add the following into EACH MUG …

  • 1 1/2 oz Queens Courage Old Tom Gin
  • ~3 oz Ginger Beer (Fever Tree makes our favorite, and 3 oz is about half a bottle… Fever Tree is naturally lower in sugar, and is completely natural- we love all their mixers and is easy to find most anywhere, but Amazon has good bulk prices)
  • the juice of 1/2 a grapefruit (ruby red is recommended)
  • the juice of 1/2 a lime

Stir gently and garnish with lime or grapefruit… or both!

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for how smooth and fast these suckers go down, so enter at your own risk…

just be sure to enter.

Thanks for reading, y’all! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. XO







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